Today on Blogcritics
Home » The Right to Healthcare: Part Two

The Right to Healthcare: Part Two

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

No One Chooses to Be Uninsured

I'll grant that in a country with 300 million people, absolutes are nearly impossible. Certainly there are some who electively remain uninsured and their reasons for such a choice is rooted in individual circumstance. As in part one of this series of articles, the best that can be said is that most Americans agree that our healthcare system of Corporate Profiteering on levels unseen in the most heinous examples of Corporate Greed is in crisis and must be revised. In this second part, I will demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of uninsured Americans do not choose to be so.

First, let's look at a few established facts.

- Of the 82 million Americans who were uninsured at some point between 2002 and 2003, more than half came from families making below 200 percent of the official poverty line – $37,320.00 for a family of four. Nearly two-thirds of people in families below the poverty line were uninsured.

- In non-partisan surveys of the uninsured in American, nearly six in ten said they were without health coverage because they could not afford it. Another 22 percent said they were uninsured because they were unemployed, their employer didn't offer coverage, or they were employed in several part time positions and were not eligible to receive employer provided coverage. Only 7 percent said they could afford health insurance and chose not to have it.

Second, let's look at a few of those uninsured.

- In Uninsured in America, Harvard researchers interviewed an Idaho hairdresser. She makes $900 a month, working full time, after taxes. The salon she works at offers a health coverage plan that would cost her $200 a month for a $1,000 deductible. She could 'choose' to buy into the offered health insurance but only if she then 'chooses' to try to live on $700 a month. When she cannot make that work – she has rent, utilities, phone, and food to pay for as well as mandatory vehicle insurance and car payments and gas (no big mass transit system in Idaho, folks) – she is classified by our government as 'electing to be uninsured.'

- Chicago actor/writer/teacher Joe Janes tells this story on his blog:

I have two part-time jobs as a teacher – one at a private institution and one that has to follow state regulations on education – and it kind of pisses me off. I love both my jobs…I feel like I make a difference at these jobs, but I can't survive on their income – my girlfriend will attest to that! I'm fine when both are in swing at the same time, but that's the problem with part-time jobs. I only get paid when I work. No vacation days, no sick days, no health insurance, no 401k. And, in my case, no guarantee on the number of classes.

A class can be cancelled at the last minute at either place and the income I planned on for the next few months is gone. Poof! At both places, 80-90% of the faculty is made up of part-time teachers. At one of the places, it looks like they are about to hire more teachers. They take on five to ten new teachers every year anyway as part of a training program, so this is even on top of that.

Joe can certainly 'choose' to get a third job. He can 'choose' to quit teaching altogether and seek a higher paying job. Hell, he can 'choose' to move to Port Clinton, Ohio and get a job as an office drone for a major corporation, but why should he have to make any of those choices? This is the United States of America, the wealthiest nation on the planet, right? If all Joe is 'free' to do is to become part of the slave class for corporations that routinely downsize and outsource to other countries, why not move to 1930's Moscow?

Third, let's look at simple common sense for a moment (I understand that common sense is often avoided in discussions of national healthcare, but why not?).

Eliminating for the moment the scores of healthy, white 20-year olds who believe that they will never get sick or encounter an accident that would require medical care and the religious nutbags who believe they can pray illness and injury away, who, in their right mind, would choose to not be insured if an affordable and reasonable health plan were available? Who, in their right mind, would choose to not be insured if it only cost them an extra couple of bucks come tax time?

The argument that Americans should not have a universal healthcare plan because many of those uninsured 'choose' to be uninsured is an amazing piece of smoke and mirror agit-prop created by those corporations that profit enormously from the current system. And it makes no logical sense as an argument against Universal Healthcare.

NEXT UP: Part Three – The Private Insurance System is Inferior to Universal Healthcare

Powered by

About Angry White Guy in Chicago

  • Alec

    Don – an interesting and provocative post. In considering it, I think you make a fair point that very few people choose to be uninsured. However, this does not lead ineluctably to the conclusion that the only alternative is Universal Health Care.

    RE: Of the 82 million Americans who were uninsured at some point between 2002 and 2003 …

    This appears to fudge the figures. The most recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report notes 46.6 million uninsured in 2005. However, they show only 24.4 per cent of people with incomes below $25,000 as uninsured in 2005. In addition, 8.5 per cent of people with incomes over $75,000 are uninsured.

    RE: Joe can certainly ‘choose’ to get a third job. He can ‘choose’ to quit teaching altogether and seek a higher paying job. Hell, he can ‘choose’ to move to Port Clinton, Ohio and get a job as an office drone for a major corporation, but why should he have to make any of those choices? This is the United States of America, the wealthiest nation on the planet, right? If all Joe is ‘free’ to do is to become part of the slave class for corporations that routinely downsize and outsource to other countries, why not move to 1930’s Moscow?

    A time machine that could take you to 1930s Moscow would make Joe richer than the people pumping out iPhones. More seriously, it is interesting that you suggest that it is somehow the responsibility of the government to subsidize Joe’s life choices, or to make them easier or more comfortable. There is also something faintly unpleasant in your implication that a lot of people who ARE office drones, presumably less cool than Joe, should underwrite his life choices, especially if he is going to sneer at them in return.

    RE: Eliminating for the moment the scores of healthy, white 20-year olds who believe that they will never get sick or encounter an accident that would require medical care…

    Again, your comments border on being obnoxiously condescending when you imply that only young white folks are touched by the glow of health and an easy life.

    But apart from this, let’s reject your assertion that 82 million people are uninsured and use the more conservative figure of 46.6 million Americans. And let’s be more conservative and reduce your assertion that only 7 percent say that they can afford health insurance and choose not to have it, and use 4 percent instead. This would give us about 11.9 percent of Americans who are uninsured and in need of health insurance.

    Now, I do not see that there is a reason to force everyone into universal health insurance just to make sure that 11.9% of the country has a health plan.

    RE: Who, in their right mind, would choose to not be insured if it only cost them an extra couple of bucks come tax time?

    This is a totally false argument, since there is no plan and no cost estimate on the table.

  • moonraven

    Sorry, canb’t accept your piece because you lost all credibility when you referred to Christian Scientists–and others–as religious nutbags.

    I am not a Christian Scientist, but those who are take its tenets very seriously.

    Calling them religious nutbags is infantile and shows incredibly bad judgment on the part of someone who appears to want people to take him seriously.

    Not a chance. Good points flushed into the toilet by petulant political incorrectness.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Not to be difficult, but…

    She makes $900 a month, working full time, after taxes.

    She needs to either move or get a different job. At that rate of payment she’s got to be the worst hairdresser in the US.

    Here in Austin a mediocre hairdresser is going to make $3000 a month minimum.

    You can make more than $900 a month with a starting level job at WalMart or MacDonalds, anywhere in the country.

    Not a good example.

    Dave

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    Alec-

    “I think you make a fair point that very few people choose to be uninsured. ”

    That’s all I was attempting to do with this second part.

    Moonraven,

    Anyone – ANYONE – who believes that praying will cure their illness or injury is a nutjob. If someone claimed that, instead of going to a doctor, they preferred to howl at the moon in effort to cure their cataracts, I’d call them a nutjob. Thanks for reading, though.

    Dave,

    The example came from the book “Uninsured in America” and, in spite of the severity of the woman’s situation, I’d wager there are far more in her situation than should be in the richest nation on the planet.

  • Clavos

    $900 a month is only $5.1923 per hour, or $208 a week.

    She should go get a job flipping burgers.

  • STM

    Or working in a decent bar or restaurant. She’d make nearly $200 in tips on a good night.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Don, she’s earning the equivalent of minimum wage at a skilled job where you also get tips? Plus the ‘after taxes’ thing is misleading, because earning that little she’s not paying any taxes.

    And my argument is that there aren’t any people in her situation. She’s a bogus example who is essentially working the equivalent of part time and earning enormously below her potential.

    In the real world the vast majority of people earning in that range are either working a second job part time or are teenagers.

    Dave

  • http://LesPaulisanexcellentguitarplayerwithanadmirablegraspofgoodjazz. bliffle

    That waitress is purposely making too little money therefore she is a masochist therefore she is immoral therefore she DESERVES to suffer. QED.

  • Arch Conservative

    Don…

    Healthcare is not a right, it is a commodity and should be treated as such in all but the most extreme cases.

  • Clavos

    “That waitress is purposely making too little money therefore she is a masochist therefore she is immoral therefore she DESERVES to suffer. QED.”

    As usual, in your eagerness to be sarcastic, you miss the point, bliffle.

    The point being that we don’t believe a hairdresser is making so little money working full time.

    My wife has to pay $40 + tip for a haircut; not as much as John Edwards, but then I’m not an ambulance chaser, either.

  • http://LesPaulisanexcellentguitarplayerwithanadmirablegraspofgoodjazz. bliffle

    That waitress is underreporting her income therefore she is a liar therefore she is immoral therefore she DESERVES to suffer. QED.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    you’re fooling around, right, Bliffle?

  • Clavos

    “That waitress is underreporting her income therefore she is a liar therefore she is immoral therefore she DESERVES to suffer. QED.”

    If she is in fact underrreporting her income, I magree wqith you, bliffle (even though I know you’re being “sarcastic” – or at least your poor imitation of sarcasm).

  • Alec

    Don – RE: [“I think you make a fair point that very few people choose to be uninsured. “]
    That’s all I was attempting to do with this second part.

    The problem is that you do not make a case that everyone should have health coverage just because a small part of the population is not insured.

    Another elephant in the room is that you do not in any way demonstrate that people who are uninsured do not get health care. It would be like saying “people who do not have auto insurance do not own and drive cars.”

    Dave Nalle — RE: Don, she’s earning the equivalent of minimum wage at a skilled job where you also get tips? Plus the ‘after taxes’ thing is misleading, because earning that little she’s not paying any taxes.

    Not true that this person is not paying any taxes. A single person without kids earning $900 a month after taxes could be earning at least $12,100 a year and would owe $368 in federal income taxes, and would have $925 in Social Security and Medicare taxes deducted from her wages.

    Equally untrue is your assertion that there are not any people in this hairdresser’s situation, or that the example is necessarily unrealistic.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    You have a point, Alec. There’s no escaping from SS and Medicare.

    And as I pointed out, there ARE people earning $900 a month. I just find the idea that they are hairdressers suspect. They’re mostly teenagers and housewives working part time to supplement family income.

    Dave

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    the religious nutbags who believe they can pray illness and injury away

    Don, it’s never smart to dismiss the value of prayer. You never know who it is who prays for you in the silence of their own home or the recesses of their heart. And prayer does have a positive effect on people who are sick. I’m speaking from personal experience.

    Not all cures are come by western medicine. Don’t set yourself on a pedestal of arrogance by assuming they do.

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    Alec –

    The problem is that you do not make a case that everyone should have health coverage just because a small part of the population is not insured.

    I’m getting there. I’m stating my case one point at a time.

    Part One – yup. Our current system is woefully inadequate and a large majority of Americans agree.

    Part Two: while a large number of Americans are uninsured, virtually no one elects to be so.

    I have five more parts coming to ultimately prove that healthcare is a human right, not a mere commodity to be profited from at the expense of those least able to afford it.

    Ruvy –

    All due respect, brother, but I can believe the sun is cotton candy and the earth is chocolate pudding and anyone with sense will tell me I’m nuttier than squirrel shit. I’m sure that prayer can have a positive effect on illness just as being surrounded by really funny people can have a positive affect on illness, but to disregard medical science on religious grounds is just superstitious nonsense.

  • moonraven

    And you, Don, are an offensive person–how is that better than someone who is superstitious?

    Give me superstition over assholism every time….

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I said nothing about disregarding medical science. I did say that not all cures are come by western medicine and woe to the fool who deludes himself that they all do.

    Prayer kept my mind clear when I could have surrendered to panic while I was having a heart attack and while I was being waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

    Prayer has cured others where no solutions have worked at all. I know the people who have been cured by prayer AND treatment; albeit not “western medicine”. And I live in a Jewish society – we have no Christian Scientists here.

  • moonraven

    I am not a CS, either–as I already indicated.

    Radical Forgiveness, which I mentioned on another thread, is widely recommended to cancer patients in the US now. It is not prayer, but prayer could be included I suppose–and so far results show that folks who have done RF have a much better chance at surviving than those who don’t–regardless of treatment modalities.

    Positive thinking is always MUCH healthier than the kind of negative thinking shown by the writer of this piece.

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    moonraven, Ruvy –

    Wow. None of your kneejerk reactions have ANYTHING to do with the point of the article.

    I take it back, OK. Praying ills away is a wonderful and powerful thing and I wish you both the best of luck with it. Positive thinking is great. Do some more of it. Feel better about things.

    My poorly worded raging attack on the superstitious but sincere peoples of the world has been repented and I seek forgiveness for my horrifying and uncalled for attack.

  • Arch Conservative

    “I have five more parts coming to ultimately prove that healthcare is a human right, not a mere commodity to be profited from at the expense of those least able to afford it.”

    Receiving care that is necessary to save your life regardless of your ability to pay for it at the time should be a right in any society that wishes to call itself civilized.

    Receiving healthcare whenever you want it for free at the expense of others with no intention of ever paying for it is not a right.

  • xyla

    I was captivated by the discussion on the hairdresser in Idaho who is under reporting her income, while no one mentioned the two school systems that are reducing their costs by hiring part-time teachers so they will not have to pay the going rate for full-time teachers to whom they would pay benefits as well as salary. By underpaying their teachers they make it impossible for the teachers to purchase health insurance.
    More important, to my mine, is the inability of the purchasers to deduct their health insurance expense from their taxable income because of the 7.5% floor for medical expenses. This expense is 100% deductible to those who have insurance paid by the corporation as it is a deduction at the corporate level. To my mind it should also be deductible at the individual level.

  • Clavos

    Xyla (cool name!) notes:

    “More important, to my mine, is the inability of the purchasers to deduct their health insurance expense from their taxable income because of the 7.5% floor for medical expenses. This expense is 100% deductible to those who have insurance paid by the corporation as it is a deduction at the corporate level. To my mind it should also be deductible at the individual level.”

    This is an EXCELLENT point; and one that could be realized relatively quickly and easily.

    Write your Congressperson, everyone!

  • moonraven

    Don, YOU do not sound sincere at all–especially compared to those folks whose beliefs you chose to degrade–in a shocking display of infantile intolerance.

  • MAOZ

    #17… “nuttier than squirrel shit”….

    Well, I was going to ask, “Just how nutty is squirrel shit?”

    But, yeah, well, what with acorns and all … I guess it is pretty nutty.

    Cute expression! I may adopt it.

    Don’t get to see many squirrels in Israel, though (I’ve seen exactly zero here, myself), so I hope it doesn’t get lost in translation….

  • Alec

    Don – RE: I’m getting there. I’m stating my case one point at a time.
    Part One – yup. Our current system is woefully inadequate and a large majority of Americans agree.

    You take this as an assumption, but you have not “proved it” at all.

    RE: Part Two: while a large number of Americans are uninsured, virtually no one elects to be so.

    You overstated the number of uninsured Americans, which weakens your overall point. It is ridiculously simple to google information about the heath care system in the US and other industrialized nations. Your series of posts will quickly fall apart if you don’t get your facts right.

    RE: I have five more parts coming to ultimately prove that healthcare is a human right, not a mere commodity to be profited from at the expense of those least able to afford it.

    Your posts also show why many right-thinking people might reject Universal Health Care. Your example of the artist/teacher who thinks that people who work for corporations are dopes even though their taxes would subsidize his life choices is pointlessly obnoxious, but I think honestly represents the attitudes of some people who are pushing UHC proposals.

    xyla — RE: I was captivated by the discussion on the hairdresser in Idaho who is under reporting her income, while no one mentioned the two school systems that are reducing their costs by hiring part-time teachers so they will not have to pay the going rate for full-time teachers to whom they would pay benefits as well as salary. By underpaying their teachers they make it impossible for the teachers to purchase health insurance.

    This is becoming a problem in a number of occupations. The odd thing is that some unions are going along with these two-tier systems, sacrificing the newly hired in order to safeguard the benefits of veteran employees.

    RE: More important, to my mine, is the inability of the purchasers to deduct their health insurance expense from their taxable income because of the 7.5% floor for medical expenses. To my mind it should also be deductible at the individual level.

    It’s a little more complicated than that. If, like most people, you use the Standard Deduction because you can’t itemize, then the 7.5% floor doesn’t mean anything. And if you can’t afford health insurance in the first place because available individual plans are too expensive, it doesn’t matter whether or not the costs are deductible.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Marthe,

    Making an apology sound sincere is difficult, especially on “electronic paper.” That’s why notes of apology are so damned hard to write. Again, this is experience talking, unfortunately. Don may or may not have changed his mind. But he did figure out and admit that what he wrote in the article about “religious nutjobs” was not the smartest thing to write.

    Don,

    I agree with most of the substantive points in your article – and if you were reading carefully, you would see that so does Marthe. Which is why neither of us have really addressed its substantive points. But both of us resent the nasty AND UNNECESSARY swipe you have taken at people who pray for healing.

    One of the things my father (may his soul be only for a blessing) drove home to me is that you cannot recall a word once it is uttered.

    Something for you to ponder…

  • Clavos

    Alec writes:

    “It’s a little more complicated than that. If, like most people, you use the Standard Deduction because you can’t itemize, then the 7.5% floor doesn’t mean anything. And if you can’t afford health insurance in the first place because available individual plans are too expensive, it doesn’t matter whether or not the costs are deductible.”

    Which completely ignores those of us who HAVE to pay for our insurance and DO itemize. Making insurance premiums deductible across the board (with no minimum threshold) would help millions of taxpayers.

    Sheesh.

  • http://LesPaulisanexcellentguitarplayerwithanadmirablegraspofgoodjazz. bliffle

    “Healthcare is not a right, it is a commodity and should be treated as such…”.

    Where do I cash in all the healthcare commodity I saved over the past years by not being sick?

  • Cindy D

    RE: #5

    $900 a month is only $5.1923 per hour, or $208 a week.

    $900.00 net/month is about $6.50/hr gross

  • http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html Cindy D

    RE: #9

    “Healthcare [sic] is not a right, it is a commodity and should be treated as such in all but the most extreme cases.”

    It should be a right, for three reasons.

    1) Survival is in the interest of the general population. It is sort of a big interest.

    Health care can be compared to other services a government needs to provide, namely a military, a judiciary, law enforcement, and education.

    2) Medical research is paid for by taxpayers when it is government subsidized. Of course, this makes sense, as what could be more important to all people than survival. Therefore, even people who earn minimum wage are contributing to medical advances. Should the pennies of the poor collectively go to fund the medical advances which are then advantages only for the more well-off?

    No.

    3) There are MANY more people affected by lack of insurance than those making minimum wage. Many of these are people who are middle class and who have made decent wages. (see URL for a Harvard study on bankruptcy)

    What the hell kind of society are we interested in living in?

    By the way Arch, do you ave children? I don’t. So, why should I pay for your children to go to school?

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    Alec –

    Part One – yup. Our current system is woefully inadequate and a large majority of Americans agree.

    You take this as an assumption, but you have not “proved it” at all.

    Given that a quantified majority of Americans polled stated that the current US healthcare system is in crisis and that the wealthiest nation on the planet is ranked 37th by the World Health Organization (you know – quantified), I’d say there was no assumption involved. In fact, I’d say that was fairly convincing proof of the premise or Part One.

    RE: Part Two: while a large number of Americans are uninsured, virtually no one elects to be so.

    You overstated the number of uninsured Americans, which weakens your overall point. It is ridiculously simple to google information about the heath care system in the US and other industrialized nations. Your series of posts will quickly fall apart if you don’t get your facts right.

    Wrong again, Alec. Read the stats – you believe that your statistic invalidates mine (“46.6 million uninsured in 2005″ does not contradict “82 million Americans who were uninsured at some point between 2002 and 2003″ – it’s just another number relating to a more refined control group for a different year) – obviously, you went with a kneejerk reaction to the numbers I quoted (quantified and not ‘made up’ or ‘fudged’) and didn’t really read the stat.

    To be more specific:

    From Insuring the Uninsured

    A June 2004 report revealed startling new statistics on uninsured Americans. A total of 82 million Americans—1 of 3 people younger than 65 years of age—were uninsured at some point during 2002–2003. Conducted by the well-regarded Lewin Group, the study found that two thirds of the 82 million were uninsured for 6 months or more, with half lacking coverage for at least 9 months. These figures, based on U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey data, are far higher than the commonly cited number of 43.6 million uninsured for the entire calendar year 2002

    Given that I got my facts straight, I’d say my posts are holding up pretty well.

    I hope you keep reading as I continue to post this series. I’m anxious to hear your perspective on why it is a humane thing to allow millions (you can call it a small percentage of Americans, but we’re fighting a war over the death of just over 3,000) to fend for themselves in a strange capitalist Darwinian selection process when the finances are available and the processes already in place – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

  • Dr Dreadful

    bliffle #30: [reads comment, laughs, stands up and applauds]

    Cindy #32: By the way Arch, do you ave [sic] children? I don’t. So, why should I pay for your children to go to school?

    Careful, Cindy. I have a suspicion that Arch doesn’t believe in public education either.

    Good point though.

  • Alec

    Don Hall —

    RE: [Part One – yup. Our current system is woefully inadequate and a large majority of Americans agree.
    You take this as an assumption, but you have not “proved it” at all.]

    Given that a quantified majority of Americans polled stated that the current US healthcare system is in crisis and that the wealthiest nation on the planet is ranked 37th by the World Health Organization (you know – quantified), I’d say there was no assumption involved. In fact, I’d say that was fairly convincing proof of the premise or Part One.

    Nope. Sorry. You are doing little more here than reiterating your bias for universal health care. There is a big jump from a survey indicating that people feel that health care is inadequate to assuming that there is a CRISIS in health care. There is an even bigger jump to asserting that UHC is the best and necessary cure for whatever inadequacies you perceive. As an aside, the notion that the “wealthiest nation in the world” should be Number 1 in everything is absurd. Are you happy that the US is number one in military spending?

    By the way, the link you provided easily contradicts the simplistic idea that a majority of people are yearning for UHC as a solution to the problem of the uninsured: “Recent polls indicate that most Americans desire a government guarantee that people receive coverage for basic health care services, but far fewer people are willing to pay more taxes to insure the uninsured. The polling data suggest that the climate for expanding health insurance is less favorable than it was 10 years ago.”

    Lastly, a poll that many Americans find the current healthcare system to be inadequate does not by itself indicate that the people polled care about other people who are uninsured.

    RE: Wrong again, Alec. Read the stats – you believe that your statistic invalidates mine (“46.6 million uninsured in 2005″ does not contradict “82 million Americans who were uninsured at some point between 2002 and 2003″ – it’s just another number relating to a more refined control group for a different year) – obviously, you went with a kneejerk reaction to the numbers I quoted (quantified and not ‘made up’ or ‘fudged’) and didn’t really read the stat.

    Odd that you assume I made a kneejerk reaction to your numbers when you have absolutely no idea of the degree to which I have also thought about and researched health care issues. I’ve seen the numbers you cite and discounted them because 1) my figures are more recent and 2)the figures you cite obviously understate the dynamic nature of economic and health care decisions. To note that 82 million Americans are uninsured AT SOME POINT is meaningless if the bulk of this group ultimately end up with health insurance later in the year. It would be like saying that because the unemployment rate at some point is 15%, then the government should provide everyone with a job.

    You picked a higher number because it suited your purposes, not because it more accurately reflects the facts. I will let other readers of these posts decide whether this helps or hurts your other arguments.

    RE: I hope you keep reading as I continue to post this series. I’m anxious to hear your perspective on why it is a humane thing to allow millions … to fend for themselves in a strange capitalist Darwinian selection process when the finances are available and the processes already in place – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

    As an aside, there is nothing Darwinian about capitalism. Nothing. I understand why religious fundamentalists fear and misunderstand Darwin, but I have never understood why others, including progressives, invoke his name as though he were the Devil.

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    Alec-

    Jeesh, you’re thick.

    In Part One, I’m not making a case for UHC. I’m simply demonstrating that a majority of people polled said AMERICAN HEALTHCARE WAS IN CRISIS. That’s what they said and you trying to spin it out of that is a waste of time.

    And your argument about the cited stats is that you don’t like them? They are accurate and demonstrate my point which is [brace yourself] THAT VIRTUALLY NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE UNINSURED. Again, not championing UHC yet.

    BTW – capitalism operates on a simple “survival of the fittest” principal – not that difficult to fathom.

  • moonraven

    It’s called social darwinism.

  • moonraven

    Actually, I DO choose to be uninsured.

    Here are some reasons:

    1. I live in Mexico. While I was working fulltime here I was working legally, so had to pay into the national health insurance fund (half my money, half my employers’) every 15 days. I believe I used it 2 or 3 times in 9 years–for piddling stuff. When I was not covered, because there is a nurse in my household who works for the national health insurance folks, she sneaked me in to the hospital (2 or 3 times) where I did not have to wait all day and where I received the attention I wanted–for free.

    2. I choose to use primarily acupuncture–and also chose to do so when I lived in the US–it was readily available from 1983 on, and I just paid for it myself (except for one series that was a worker’s comp claim) and saw who I wanted to see.

    3. In a few years I will be eligible for Medicare–but that only covers care given in the States.

    4. I was never happy with the alopathic health care in the States. I have had a chronic illness–systemic lupus–since I was an infant, and alopathic health care for that would have had me pushing up daisies before I was 40. I am 62.

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    Moonraven,

    You are why the argument is that virtually no one chooses to be uninsured. As I state:

    Certainly there are some who electively remain uninsured and their reasons for such a choice is rooted in individual circumstance.

    I’d say your circumstance is certainly an individual one.

  • moonraven

    Everything about me is INDIVIDUAL, thanks.

  • Clavos

    Re Cindy #31:

    $900 X 12 (mos.) = $10,800

    10,800/52 (wks.) = 207.69

    207.69/40 (hrs.) = $5.1923

  • Alec

    Don Hall —

    RE: Jeesh, you’re thick.

    Naw. I’m just a stickler for accuracy.

    RE: In Part One, I’m not making a case for UHC. I’m simply demonstrating that a majority of people polled said AMERICAN HEALTHCARE WAS IN CRISIS. That’s what they said and you trying to spin it out of that is a waste of time.

    Actually, what you originally wrote was “Our current system is woefully inadequate…” Making a jump from inadequate to a crisis is your spin.

    RE: And your argument about the cited stats is that you don’t like them? They are accurate and demonstrate my point which is [brace yourself] THAT VIRTUALLY NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE UNINSURED. Again, not championing UHC yet.

    You can jump up and down and fall into all caps as much as you please. The fact remains that your figures are overstated, and are obviously the result of cherry-picking.

    RE: BTW – capitalism operates on a simple “survival of the fittest” principal – not that difficult to fathom.

    Actually, capitalism does not operate on such a principal. More important, Darwin did not speak of “survival of the fittest,” nor is this a principle of natural selection. You are confusing the statements of social darwinists, who were clowns, not scientists, with evolutionary science. You’re right, it’s not that difficult to fathom when you know the facts.

    Clavos — RE: $900 X 12 (mos.) = $10,800

    The example said that the hairdresser was earning $900 a month after taxes. This means that her gross annual income could be at least $12,100. You cannot base her hourly wage on the net amount.

  • http://donhall.blogspot.com Don Hall

    Alec –

    From Part One:
    Polls indicate that most Americans understand that healthcare in this country is in a major crisis and needs massive overhauling.

    The figures in Part two are only overstated in your completely unsubstantiated opinion because you don’t like them.

    I understand that you’ve made up your mind on the issue and no amount of reason or factual information will sink in. That’s cool. brother. You keep trying. It’s kind of sad, but we all have our deal.

  • STM

    For all those who think the provision of universal health care by the US government unconstitutional, have a really look at the 9th amendment (laid down by the founding fathers themselves).

    It very clearly states that the rights codified in the constitution are not the only rights US citizens may have.

    In fact, any argument that such a provision would be unconstitutional would in itself be unconstitutional.

    So there is never going to be any bar on it because of that factor.

  • http://LesPaulisanexcellentguitarplayerwithanadmirablegraspofgoodjazz. bliffle

    “#12 — Christopher Rose

    you’re fooling around, right, Bliffle?”

    No, just making the quintessential link between economics and morals: sinners should suffer economically and die as necessary.

    That’s what all this is about, right?

  • http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html Cindy D

    RE: #41

    Clavos,

    You’re forgetting the taxes, FICA, SUI. The article said she takes home $900. I allowed 20% which is reasonable if she has state tax.

  • Clavos

    “No, just making the quintessential link between economics and morals: sinners should suffer economically and die as necessary.

    That’s what all this is about, right?”

    Yep.

    Are you a sinner, bliffle?

    Watch out…

  • Alec

    Don Hall — RE: The figures in Part two are only overstated in your completely unsubstantiated opinion because you don’t like them.

    Can’t you do better than this? Your numbers are good just because you say so, but mine are “unsubstantiated?” You’re joking, right? I clearly pointed out why your figures are overstated, but you never provided anything remotely resembling “reason or factual information” in reply, nor even demonstrated that you understand your own citations. So, for the sake of other readers of your posts, let’s go to the Health and Human Services statistics site for the 2005 data, which lists a number of ways in which the uninsured can be counted and especially this section, “Understanding Estimates of the Uninsured“.

    Your figures are most likely coming from the upper end of the MEPS data, and include people who had a lapse in insurance coverage at some point in time, even if they later got other health insurance coverage. This is one way of looking at the data, but not the only, or necessarily the most accurate way of doing so. The number I used is based on the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is the foundation of most demographic analyses of the uninsured.

    When you throw out data, you should understand it, understand where it comes from, and understand the limitations that underlie it. If you don’t understand this, you are just looking for others to do your homework for you.

  • http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html Cindy D

    Re: #1

    Are you certain, Alec, that you understand a single payer system? Why would you not want to be “forced” into something that would benefit you? Nearly everyone benefits from a single payer system including individuals and most corporations. It reduces insurance costs by reducing the profit for private enterprise. The only reasonable way I can see anyone being against it is if they have a corporate interest in keeping health care costs high.

    I suppose if I am the CEO of Aetna I might not like the idea. But, how does the average person or any corporation without interests in the health care business defend their objections? If one compares our medical costs and services to other wealthy countries, like Canada, I cannot comprehend what all the resistance is about. I hear objections to universal health care, but, it appears to me that they are knee-jerk reactions. “People on the left like this idea; this might benefit poor people (read: welfare crack moms and waitresses who don’t report their tips) therefore I am opposed, even if I don’t know what I am talking about.”

    Has anyone who objects actually looked at how a single payer system might benefit them? I haven’t seen any case against a single payer system in this entire blog.

  • http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html Cindy D

    RE: #9

    “Healthcare [sic] is not a right, it is a commodity and should be treated as such in all but the most extreme cases.”

    It should be a right, for three reasons.

    1) Survival is in the interest of the general population. It is sort of a big interest. Treating health care as a “commodity” takes something we all need and allows a very few to benefit. Why should so few benefit at the expense of 99+% of us?

    2) Medical research is paid for by taxpayers when it is government subsidized. Of course, this makes sense, as what could be more important to all people than survival. Therefore, even people who earn minimum wage are contributing to medical advances. Should the pennies of the poor collectively go to fund the medical advances which are then advantages only for the more well-off?

    No.

    3) There are MANY more people affected by lack of insurance than those making minimum wage. Many of these are people who are middle class and who have made decent wages. (see URL for a Harvard study on bankruptcy)

    “The U.S. health care system ranks last compared with five other nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes.” (Commonwealth Fund)

    We are also the most expensive. We are spending twice as much per-capita on health care than any other industrialized nation. (Commonwealth Fund)

    Is that what we want as the “greatest” nation–to rank last in health care when we make many of civilization’s greatest medical achievements. What the hell kind of society are we interested in living in?

    By the way Arch, do you have children? I don’t. Yet I pay thousands a year for school taxes. Is education a “right”? I would say that it would be easier for someone to educate their own children than to say, sew their own toe back on. So, why don’t you take that money I pay (I am penalized for owning a home, I have to pay for wealthy people’s children to go to school.) and give it over to a health care program. Oh wait, you won’t need that money, a single payer system will actually cost less.

  • Alec

    Cindy – RE: Are you certain, Alec, that you understand a single payer system? Why would you not want to be “forced” into something that would benefit you? Nearly everyone benefits from a single payer system including individuals and most corporations. It reduces insurance costs by reducing the profit for private enterprise. The only reasonable way I can see anyone being against it is if they have a corporate interest in keeping health care costs high.

    I never said that I am against a single-payer system, and despite some of my disagrements with Don Hall, I look forward to his future posts on this subject.

    However, reducing the profit in the health-care system will not necessarily guarantee that people get better or more effective care. And as for the supposed benefits of a single-payer system, isn’t Canada still trying to deal with the consequences of a 2005 Canadian Supreme Court ruling which struck down Quebec’s ban on using private insurance for services covered under medicare?

    Four of the court’s seven judges involved in the decision wrote that the ban was in violation of the province’s Chart of Rights, because: “The evidence in this case shows that delays in the public health care system are widespread, and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.”

    “The evidence also demonstrates that the prohibition against private health insurance and its consequence of denying people vital health care result in physical and psychological suffering that meets a threshold test of seriousness.”

    More background on this can be found
    here

  • http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html Cindy D

    Re: #51

    Alec,

    Yes, that is a problem. It is likely a factor in Canada’s ranking at 30 with WHO. I am happy for the court’s decision. A link in your article makes the point that in the EU a private system can coexist well with a single payer system.

    There is no perfect choice. Unless one wants to accept socialized medicine. WHO ranks France, Italy and Germany higher than USA or Canada. I don’t think the USA is ready for socialized medicine though.